Bride-to-be Concerned after Wedding Planner Arrested for Felony, Items Seized from Home

Michael Erzfeld
Michael Erzfeld
champagne vase worth $3000
champagne vase worth $3000
elephant worth $750
elephant worth $750
Holly Shaffer and David Jones
Holly Shaffer and David Jones
Bride-to-be Concerned after Wedding Planner Arrested for Felony, Items Seized from Home
By: Heartland News
JACKSON, Mo. - Cape Girardeau County investigators continue gathering evidence in the criminal case against a Jackson businessman.
Officers seized several items from the home of 40-year-old Michael Erzfeld.
Erzfeld's already accused of using another man's credit card number to buy more than $1100 worth of wine.
Lieutenant David James showed Heartland News thousands of dollars of additional merchandise all believed to be bought using other people's credit cards.
"We also have an elephant that was sent from Manchester, New York," said Deputy Heather VanGinnip with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department. "It was approximately $700."
"The items that we've seized are collected or have had people bring in to us appear to have been purchased on credit cards without those persons' permission," said Lt. David James with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Dept.
Lt. James says it may take a while to sort out who actually paid for all the items sitting at the sheriff's department.
Deputies also seized Mike Erzfeld's cell phone and the credit card machine he used to charge the people who took his real estate classes several years ago.
"We're looking at potentially four or five right now that may be criminal offenses.  We're still investigating those. If we can put it all together, we'll seek charges from the prosecutor," Lt. James said. "This investigation is liable to take some time.  We've been inundated by phone calls from people who's got weddings planned all the way up through the middle of the year and we'll try to sort those out between civil and criminal offenses.  So it's going to take some time." 
Lt. James says he anticipates requesting additional charges against Erzfeld as early as next week.
But, there's another aspect to the Erzfeld investigation.
A few years ago, Mike Erzfeld went from being a realty instructor and a mortgage broker to a wedding planner.
Heartland News has taken calls and emails from some of Erzfeld's customers.  They want to know what happened to their money and what about their weddings.
"I was devastated.  I've been broken down, crying, upset," said 22-year-old Holly Shaffer. 
She's been through more pre-wedding stress than any young bride-to-be should ever have to face.  Just three weeks before she and fiance David Jones tie the knot, her wedding planner Michael Erzfeld lands in jail.
"Now I'm just in to business like we have to get this done.  It's in three weeks.  There's nothing else we can do.  We just have to get this done," Shaffer said.
Shaffer says Erzfeld came highly recommended.  Her only concern was his request she pay upfront.
"That concerned me and obviously now we're having to deal with this," Shaffer said.
Shaffer and her family came to Rental Land in Cape Girardeau in hopes of salvaging her wedding.
Rental Land owner Mark Kasten says he's had his own dealings with Mike Erzfeld.
"Awhile back, non-payment, we went to pay in advance and then it was just escalating as far as not getting our things back.  It just put pressure on us, put pressure on our customers because the stuff wasn't there to re-rent," Kasten said.
As Kasten and his staff take calls from other worried brides-to-be, Holly Shaffer says she is past the worry and focused now more than ever on her big day.
"This is going to happen once in my life so I'm just still really looking forward to it."
So, what should you do if you paid for a service, and didn't get it?
Cape Girardeau attorney Ted Yates says there are two different ways to seek a civil judgement.
If you feel someone owes you less than $3000, you can file a claim in small claims court.
If the amount is between $3000 and $25,000, you need to file a complaint in associate circuit court.
Yates points out civil judgements are handled on a first come, first serve basis.  So, if the person taken to court has the money to pay anyone back, those who filed first will be paid back first.